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An Ubon Ratchathani man was arrested on Saturday (6 November) for damaging a portrait of the King displayed in front of the Trakan Phuetphon district high school.

Taem and his mother

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Taem (pseudonym), 31, was detained by the Trakan Phuetphon police on Saturday evening. According to the police, he was arrested while standing in front of a portrait of the King at a local bus station and later confessed to damaging three portraits of the King at various locations around the district.

TLHR reports the police had Taem sign an arrest record before he was able to consult with a lawyer.

Taem was charged with destruction of property and held at Trakan Phuetphon Police Station for two nights. On Monday (8 November) he was taken to court where a temporary detention request was filed against him. The Court denied the request on the grounds that Taem was unlikely to flee or tamper with evidence. He was released without bail that evening.

A damaged portrait of the King

Taem’s mother said that her son has been displaying symptoms of mental illness since being discharged from the Navy.  Drafted at 21, he was assaulted while a conscript.  According to Taem’s mother, he is currently receiving treatment at the Prasrimahabhodi Psychiatric Hospital and has been prescribed medication which he needs to take regularly. He also has a disability ID, a card which Taem’s lawyer delivered to police as evidence along with his medications.

Taem’s mother said that when he has taken his medications, he is polite, communicative, and able to help her in the fields, but when he does not and drinks alcohol, his behaviour changes; he becomes frustrated and refuses to listen to anyone. She also said that Taem did not take his medications on the day he damaged the portraits and later told her that voices from heaven made him do it. 

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